By January second or third I already felt like I was behind. The year had begun and I didn’t have a “plan” or “goals.” While the new year can spur on some good in us, and I still plan to do some of those things, I began to realize as I reflected on my feelings that so much of the push we feel to “have it all together” starting out a new year is a negative pressure from the world.
Then I read this:
“When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future” (Ecclesiastes 7:14).
So here’s three thoughts for us as we jump into 2016:
- Good, or bad, God is in it. The above passage is clear that God has made both good and bad times. He uses the good and the bad in our lives to draw us closer to Him (Romans 8:28). This is good to keep in mind with the ups and downs a year can bring.
- Thinking too far into the future does us no good. First of all, we can’t discover anything about our future anyways (as the above verse declares). Secondly, when Jesus addresses worry in Matthew 6, he says, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?…do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it’s own” (v. 27 & 34). It’s like Jesus is saying, “hey, when you worry, you can’t change anything anyways. Just take it a day at a time, a little more light-heartedly.”
- We’ll never have it all together, and that’s good. Coming in to lead worship this past weekend, I felt pretty off at first. I had taken a much needed break after Christmas, and avoided any planning in order to be with family and rest. With a pretty busy break and sick kids at home, I didn’t feel rested at all coming back, and the lack of planning on top of that made me feel totally unprepared. In some prayer time before the first service, God reminded me that where I am weak is where He is strong. Worship was incredibly Spirit-led, mostly because I felt totally emptied of myself. The pressure of “having it all together” can be so negative. Essentially, it says that we have to save ourselves which is the opposite of the gospel. I felt so strong in Christ this weekend because of my many weaknesses. Sure, I’ll do some planning in January now that the busyness of Christmas is over. Sure, I’m grateful our family’s health is on the up and up, and sure I’m praying that continues, but the bottom line is that God’s grace is sufficient in weakness because power is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). Don’t feel behind or defeated if you don’t have it all together coming into this new year. Jesus is everything you need.
In conclusion, the pressure to feel as if you have to “take on” an entire year may crush your spirit. Jesus invites us to take it a day at a time with Him. Things can change in an instant. Yes, if you’re wired in such a way as to make plans and goals, then go for it! I will be doing that too.
Just hold them lightly, knowing that things may change, and good or bad, God is in both.
If any of your goals are in an effort to gain strength in a certain area this year, just keep in mind that while it’s good to grow, it’s in our weaknesses where the greatest power may reside.